KNOXVILLE, Iowa – Sept. 24, 2015 – Five weeks ago, Donny Schatz stood on top of the podium at the famed Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway as champion of the 55th annual FVP Knoxville Nationals. It was the ninth time in the last 10 years the Fargo, North Dakota driver won Sprint car racing’s biggest prize.
Tonight, the current World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series points leader returns to the Marion County Fairgrounds to compete in the 12th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores behind the wheel of his No. 15 Fastlane Car Wash/Fargo Petro Stopping Center Rocket.
“I’m excited to get back to Knoxville,” said Schatz. “It’s been such an incredible place for me during my career. My learning curve with the Late Model is still pretty steep, and we have a lot of work to do. There is only one way to get better and that’s get out here and race. I enjoyed being part of the Late Model Nationals last year and am excited to be able to return and try it again this year.”
Schatz has been busy driving the Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing (TSR) (TSR) No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J with the WoO. The six-time and reigning champion is in the midst of a career year winning 29 of the 67 WoO A-Features, including two at the historic half-mile, dirt oval in Knoxville. He will compete in the 4-Crown Nationals at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Friday and at Berlin Speedway in Marne, Michigan Saturday.
He has raced his Dirt Late Model almost a dozen times in 2015 competing in the Upper Midwest with the WISSOTA, NLRA and the World of Outlaws Late Model series. He won at Viking Speedway on May 30 and had his home state fans on their feet at River Cities Speedway in July when he challenged for the win competing with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series.
“I’m just looking to get better and you do that by going out and competing with the best,” continued Schatz. “The competition at this event is second to none. We’ll go out and see what we can do. Last year we were able to qualify in a respectable spot, but couldn’t take advantage of it in our heat. You have to be able to drive forward in your heat to have a good night. Tonight, we’ll just see if we can be a little better.”
Tonight’s program includes qualifying, heat races and feature events. Drivers will earn points and will be ranked from highest to lowest following the action. Friday drivers will return and compete in another complete show and then will be ranked by the their highest point total for Saturday’s finale.
Last September, Schatz competed in the opening night and qualified 12th out of 40 cars in Group A. He started fifth and finished eighth in heat three before finishing fourth in the C-Main. He advanced from 22nd to 16th in the B-Main. He wasn’t able to compete either of the remaining nights of the Late Model Nationals as he was racing WoO Sprint car events in Bloomington, Indiana and Marne, Michigan. He won both WoO A-Features.